VanEck Sets Bitcoin ETF Fees to Zero, Outmaneuvering BlackRock

VanEck, the New York-based investment management firm, has announced a strategic move in its push for a greater share of the burgeoning cryptocurrency market, specifically pertaining to its spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). In a recently filed updated prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, VanEck disclosed its decision to waive sponsor fees, heralding a notable shift in its pricing strategy to attract more investors.

This fee waiver decision is not sudden but follows a detailed plan outlined in an earlier prospectus dated March 1, 2024. VanEck is exercising its previously stated option to forego these fees, demonstrating a proactive approach in a competitive market landscape. From March 12, 2024, to March 31, 2025, VanEck has committed to waiving the entire sponsor fee for the first $1.5 billion of the Trust’s assets, a significant gesture that underscores the firm’s commitment to making its Bitcoin ETF more accessible. As of now, VanEck’s spot Bitcoin ETF has successfully attracted $297 million, as per the information available on its official website.

Should the assets of its Bitcoin Trust surpass the $1.5 billion threshold before the end of March 2025, VanEck has stated that any additional assets will be subject to a sponsor fee of 0.20%, which will remain as the fee beyond the waiver period. This decision places VanEck in a competitive position relative to its peers in the cryptocurrency ETF marketplace. In a comparison drawn earlier this year, VanEck had announced its Bitcoin ETF would carry a fee of 0.25%, juxtaposed against BlackRock and WisdomTree’s offerings at 0.2% and 0.5%, respectively.

BlackRock continues to dominate the space with its iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT), which recently set a new trading record by amassing close to $3.8 billion in volume within a 24-hour period, showcasing the trust’s large scale of operations with over $13 billion in assets under management.

In an industry where fee structures can significantly influence investor preferences, several firms have introduced products with zero percent fees, aiming to capture market share. Among them are Bitwise Bitcoin ETF, Ark 21 Shares Bitcoin ETF, and Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF. VanEck’s decision to join this “no-fee” initiative represents its strategic repositioning within this competitive arena.

Despite requests for comment, VanEck has yet to provide a response regarding this latest development. Nonetheless, the company maintains that it may, at its discretion, choose to waive all or part of its sponsor fee, emphasizing that such waivers are not obligatory and are strictly confined to the stipulations within the prospectus.

This maneuver by VanEck occurs in a context where issuers of Bitcoin ETFs are vying to attract investors to their offerings, especially after the SEC’s approval of 11 Bitcoin ETFs in January, which included VanEck’s Bitcoin Trust ETF. This development indicates a dynamic evolution in the strategies employed by firms to command attention and investment within the digital asset space, underscoring the competitive and innovative nature of the cryptocurrency investment landscape.